Using Exercise to Beat Yourself Up?
You may have heard it before or even said it yourself “I ate so much junk last night I need to workout really hard today”. Factor in the competition, comparison, and judgments you may feel at the gym and you have a recipe for disaster.
Exercise has lost its focus on obtaining and maintaining good health. It’s become a term/activity people use in hopes of achieving their dream body while forgetting to connect the other aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. There’s no doubt about it, exercise plays a big part in creating your dream body, but there are more benefits than that. Furthermore, using exercise to punish yourself offers no benefit at all. Let’s explore this further.
Health benefits of exercising regularly:
Stronger muscles and bones
More mobile and flexible joints
Lower heart rate
Ability to breathe deeper
Improved energy, mood and hormone balance
Less risk of disease and injury
An outlet for stress relief and an opportunity for “you time”
After reading all those amazing benefits how do you not want to go exercise right now? Did you notice weight loss, dream body, and self-punishment were not on the list? Weight loss and having a dream body are a part of living a healthy lifestyle, yes. But try to think about those benefits as the “cherry on top” instead of your highest priorities?
Using exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle:
Begin your day with exercise; you are setting the tone for your day. By starting your day off with one healthy habit you are more likely to continue to make more healthy choices throughout your day.
Exercise can be used as an outlet. An outlet for everything in your life that makes your body tense. Whether it be family, friends, finances, work, or just a bad day -exercise can guide you in letting it go. You can go on a jog, dance to your favorite song or visit a yoga studio and feel like a new person afterwards. The key factor is finding what form of exercise makes you feel this way. It’s different for each person and important to discover what feels right for YOU. That is how exercising regularly is maintained…it can’t feel like a chore.
Exercise is an opportunity to connect mind and body. The mind often gets left behind in the weight loss journey. The body achieves what the mind believes. If your mind is filled with thoughts that are not supporting your dream, it’s holding you back. As we learned above exercise allows us to clear the mind of what’s going on in our life and make room for new thoughts, positive thoughts.
Be kind to yourself. Instead of using exercise as punishment, recognize the strength within you. Stand tall, shoulders down and back, core engaged, looking straight forward and focus on all the good you are doing for yourself. Feel the strength within your body. Think from your feet to your head, every muscle being engaged. As you feel your strength you will begin to fuel your mind with strength.
When used correctly exercise can move you closer to living a healthy lifestyle. You will find yourself eating healthier, sleeping better, thinking clear, healing aches/pain, and feeling good more often then not. By regularly practicing these tips you will begin to forget about calorie burn and more on your improved quality of life.
In good health,
About the Author:
Vanessa is a holistic nutrition coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, pilates instructor, yoga instructor, small business owner, Army spouse, natural parenting momma, vegetarian, minimalist, and all around health nut.
She is also a stay at home mom continuing to pursue a dream of empowering others to live an active, healthy and happy life. Between leading a free moms workout group, breastfeeding, babywearing and seeing the world from a toddlers perspective she continues to learn about health, educate others, and enjoy a hobby of photography.